Epistasis Blog

From the Computational Genetics Laboratory at the University of Pennsylvania (www.epistasis.org)

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Genetic analysis of complex traits in the emerging collaborative cross

It will be interesting to see how useful the collaborative cross is for studying epistasis in mice.

Aylor DL, Valdar W, Foulds-Mathes W, Buus RJ, Verdugo RA, Baric RS, Ferris MT, Frelinger JA, Heise M, Frieman MB, Gralinski LE, Bell TA, Didion JD, Hua K, Nehrenberg DL, Powell CL, Steigerwalt J, Xie Y, Kelada SN, Collins FS, Yang IV, Schwartz DA, Branstetter LA, Chesler EJ, Miller DR, Spence J, Liu EY, McMillan L, Sarkar A, Wang J, Wang W, Zhang Q, Broman KW, Korstanje R, Durrant C, Mott R, Iraqi FA, Pomp D, Threadgill D, Pardo-Manuel de Villena F, Churchill GA. Genetic analysis of complex traits in the emerging collaborative cross. Genome Res. 2011 Mar 15.[PubMed]


The Collaborative Cross (CC) is a mouse recombinant inbred strain panel that is being developed as a resource for mammalian systems genetics. Here we describe an experiment that uses partially inbred CC lines to evaluate the genetic properties and utility of this emerging resource. Genome-wide analysis of the incipient strains reveals high genetic diversity, balanced allele frequencies, and dense, evenly distributed recombination sites-all ideal qualities for a systems genetics resource. We map discrete, complex, and biomolecular traits and contrast two quantitative trait locus (QTL) mapping approaches. Analysis based on inferred haplotypes improves power, reduces false discovery, and provides information to identify and prioritize candidate genes that is unique to multifounder crosses like the CC. The number of expression QTLs discovered here exceeds all previous efforts at eQTL mapping in mice, and we map local eQTL at 1-Mb resolution. We demonstrate that the genetic diversity of the CC, which derives from random mixing of eight founder strains, results in high phenotypic diversity and enhances our ability to map causative loci underlying complex disease-related traits.

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Travelling the world of gene-gene interactions

A nice new review on gene-gene interaction analysis.

Van Steen K. Travelling the world of gene-gene interactions. Brief Bioinform.
2011 Mar 26. [PubMed]


Over the last few years, main effect genetic association analysis has proven to be a successful tool to unravel genetic risk components to a variety of complex diseases. In the quest for disease susceptibility factors and the search for the 'missing heritability', supplementary and complementary efforts have been undertaken. These include the inclusion of several genetic inheritance assumptions in model development, the consideration of different sources of information, and the acknowledgement of disease underlying pathways of networks. The search for epistasis or gene-gene interaction effects on traits of interest is marked by an exponential growth, not only in terms of methodological development, but also in terms of practical applications, translation of statistical epistasis to biological epistasis and integration of omics information sources. The current popularity of the field, as well as its attraction to interdisciplinary teams, each making valuable contributions with sometimes rather unique viewpoints, renders it impossible to give an exhaustive review of to-date available approaches for epistasis screening. The purpose of this work is to give a perspective view on a selection of currently active analysis strategies and concerns in the context of epistasis detection, and to provide an eye to the future of gene-gene interaction analysis.